Artistic inspiration can be as cheap as going for a walk. Sometimes I walk for the fresh air and exercise, and sometimes for whatever surprises or familiarities I’ll encounter. The nipping wind surprised me today, and a block away from home I turned back to get a hat. I think it pays to be comfortable if I might be out for a while.
Before I moved here from South Florida sixteen years ago, I took it for granted that every morning when I opened the window blinds, the sun would be shining. This was not so in Boston. I arrived in Boston in January 1993, and although I thought it peculiar that news stations prattled on so much about the weather (this was New England, after all — wasn’t snow in winter normal?), I hadn’t actually realized that I wasn’t going to see the sun everyday.
It only recently occurred to me how my eye has grown to appreciate all the flavors of sky we have in New England. Sure, I still miss the omnipresent sun and clear skies of my South Florida life, most sharply during those short, dark days of December. Looking through my Boston-based artwork last week, though, I noticed many were named for the sky, if not defined by the sky’s evolving ambience. The sky has a big personality here and it speaks: fog, mist, rain, snow, haze, and every now and then, plain old blue.
I love the walk as physical tonic, and I love the walk as motion picture screen. The semi-hard mud of the dog park, the twisting and bare multi-fingered tree branches, the repeated pattern of swirled wrought iron rails gliding up the front steps of rowhouses. The young couple leaning into each other along the salmon-bricked sidewalk, the woman heading home to her kitchen with her grocery bags, the boy and his new dog.